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A federal judge in New York tossed Donald Trump‘s defamation countersuit against writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleges the former president raped her during the mid-1990s at a Manhattan department store, in a ruling on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan granted Carroll’s motion to dismiss Trump’s claim raising issues with Carroll saying in a May interview that she thought “oh yes he did” after a CNN anchor asked what was going on in her head when the jury that had just found the former president liable for sexual abuse and defamation did not find him liable for rape.
For the purposes of the case at hand, Carroll’s statements were “substantially true,” Kaplan wrote, agreeing with an argument made by Carroll’s legal team. The jury made an “implicit determination” that Trump raped Carroll with his fingers with its finding on the “sexual abuse question,” added the judge, who noted that New York penal law espouses the narrow view that such a crime is committed with forcible penetration of the vagina by a penis.
Trump, who has long denied Carroll’s allegations that he raped her, appealed the jury’s verdict in which he was ordered to pay $5 million in damages. His legal team filed the counterclaim in June, which said Carroll “disregarded the jury’s finding that Counterclaimant did not rape her,” as part of a separate defamation lawsuit brought by the writer in 2019 and set to go to trial in January.
“We are pleased that the Court dismissed Donald Trump’s counterclaim,” Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement reported by CNN. “That means that the January 15th jury trial will be limited to a narrow set of issues and shouldn’t take very long to complete. E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages based on the original defamatory statements Donald Trump made in 2019.”
One of Trump’s attorneys, Alina Habba, said, “We strongly disagree with the flawed decision and will be filing an appeal shortly.”
Trump is running a 2024 campaign for a second term in the White House. In addition to civil litigation, he faces multiple indictments on the state and federal levels. The former president broadly denies any wrongdoing, claiming he is the target of a “witch hunt.”
In a separate order, as reported by CBS News last week, Kaplan ruled that Carroll’s team can give Trump’s deposition in their legal battle to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the Trump hush-money criminal case related to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.